The Eye of the Beholder
Canon has filed a patent application for an innovative solution to the vexed question of how to prove ownership in photography. The application describes a biometric watermarking system, which works by capturing and embedding a photographer’s biological data (i.e. iris scan) into individual images.
According to Wired’s gadget blog, Canon’s application could provide a more robust authentication system for identifying the actual author / composer / taker of a picture. It included a link to a more detailed description of Canon’s Iris Registration Mode on the Photography Bay website. (Canon iris diagram)
Key features of the system include:
- Hardware based system (i.e. included in the device or camera)
- Acquisition of biological information of a photographer (i.e. Iris Scan)
- Enables copyright protection by reliably establishing the identity of the photographer
- Supports the registration of up to five users per device
- Allows for additional information to be added to the metadata
- Supports batch embedding to minimise any impact on the picture taking activity / experience.
On the surface, this sounds like an excellent solution for those that make a living from photography (including those annoying, to some, paparazzi). However, I wonder if / when, and how long it would take for someone to break even this system too. I welcome any comments on this one.
Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.